When the Rockets won Game 5 in Houston on Wednesday night, the expectation was Golden State would follow suit in the nightcap and officially set the rematch of last year’s incredible Western Conference Finals for this weekend.
Instead, the Clippers marched into Oracle Arena and put up 71 first half points en route to a 129-121 win, that featured some late game heroics from professional bucket getter Lou Williams. It was an impressive showing from L.A., who continue to show incredible heart and determination in this series, but ultimately this was a disappointing effort from the Warriors, who couldn’t have seemed much less interested on the defensive end for much of the proceedings.
They still had a chance, thanks in large part to Kevin Durant’s 45-point night, but their inability to find consistent defensive energy to get stops was troubling. After the game, it was clear the Warriors were frustrated by the performance and weren’t in much of a mood to put on a smiling face with the media. Klay Thompson, who is typically pretty reserved, was very clearly upset with the effort in Game 5 from himself and the team. He bristled at the idea they needed to build on Game 5, saying flatly that they “sucked” and needed to go win big in Game 6 like they’re capable of.
He also pointed the finger at himself as being among those who came into Wednesday expecting to win, and as such didn’t necessarily have the proper focus.
Steve Kerr, meanwhile, didn’t take kindly to a reporter questioning the Warriors identity, and reminded him of the team’s resume in recent years.
Right now, the Warriors appear to be as frustrated as we’ve ever seen them during their championship run. Whether that matters in this series or in the future remains to be seen, but the Clipper have at the least forced a little soul searching to take place in Oakland. It’s possible they come out refocused like they did in Game 3 in L.A., and blast the Clippers as Thompson hopes. Until Friday night, they’ll have to hear the 3-1 jokes and lose out on a couple days of rest that the Rockets will be getting over them.